James Sanders didn't know what to do with himself upon returning to the Hilton Head Island High School locker room Friday night.
And it was hard to blame him. After all, the boisterous sounds coming from within the Seahawks' fieldhouse were rarely, if ever, heard in the last calendar year.
"I was like, 'What do we do?' "
Sanders may not have known what to do, but his teammates sure did. The Seahawks hooped and hollered as loud as they could to celebrate their first win of the B.J. Payne era, a 54-12 romp over Ridgeland-Hardeeville. The win, which snapped a three-game losing streak dating back to last season, was the first for Hilton Head High in more than 10 months.
Never miss a local story.
"It's very nice to get a 'W'," Sanders said. "As soon as we got done with the game, the whole locker room exploded. We were just saying 'Seahawks, aight!'
"But we're still not satisifed."
Sanders hauled in a school-record tying three touchdowns in the rout, a feat also accomplished just a week ago by fellow wideout Adam Orischak. Sanders netted all three scores in the first nine minutes, catching touchdown throws of 41, 7 and 13 yards from quarterback Michael Julian, as the Seahawks broke out to an early 26-0 lead before cruising to the victory.
Julian set a benchmark of his own, as the senior signal-caller broke a school record for passing yards in a game with 332 while finishing with five touchdown throws and two more scores on the ground. The record had previously been held by Ryan Kelly, who threw for 305 against Battery Creek in 2004.
"It feels great," Julian said. "I didn't expect it to be by that big of a margin. But it just feels good to win, period."
The win helped Hilton Head High (1-1) erase the memory of last Friday's frustrating opener, as the Seahawks were upended, 29-28, by Whale Branch in Week 1. That came in part to a quick turnaround in the weight room, Payne said.
"Last Saturday was our best lift and workout of the year," said Payne, who received a game ball for his first career victory with the Seahawks. "The kids came back focused. That's on them."
The Jaguars, meanwhile, return to Ridgeland looking to solve the problems that have plagued them through their first two games. Ridgeland-Hardeeville (0-2) lost for the second time in as many weeks and has been outscored 121-12 in those games.
Some answers may be found in the form of Deo'vonte Doe, as the junior tailback carried 19 times for 163 yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, are hoping to see progressive improvement as they prepare for Region 8-AAA action in a few weeks. They'll get the chance to continue that next Friday at Battery Creek.
"We're righting the ship," Payne said. "It's time for us to start jogging a little bit. We've been taking baby steps, but now it's time to start jogging."
Hilton Head High 54, Ridgeland-Hardeeville 12
Ridgeland-Hardeeville 0 6 0 6 -- 12
Hilton Head High 26 7 21 0 -- 54
HHH--James Sanders 41 catch from Michael Julian (Colin White kick), 8:50.
HHH--Sanders 7 catch from Julian (pass failed), 6:47.
HHH--Sanders 13 catch from Julian (White kick), 3:25.
HHH--Julian 15 rush (kick failed), 0:34.
RH--Marquis Griffin 10 rush (rush failed), 4:10.
HHH--Adam Orischak 68 pass from Julian (White kick), 0:30.
HHH--Julian 2 rush (White kick), 10:42.
HHH--Robbie Iulo 59 catch from Julian (White kick), 6:41 .
HHH--Aiden Hegarty 1 rush (White kick), 2:55.
RH--Deo'vonte Doe 42 rush (rush failed), 11:46.
First Downs 9 15
Rushes-Yards 44-203 27-140
Comp-Att-Int 0-2-0 14-20-1
Passing Yards 0 353
Punts-Avg 5-28 2-35
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-62 9-70
Third-Down Conv 4-10 5-8
Fourth-Down Conv 0-1 0-0
PASSING: RH -- Derrell Myers 0-1-0-0, Gavin Bush 0-1-0-0; HHH -- Michael Julian 12-18-1-332, 5 TD, Aiden Hegarty 2-2-0-21.
RUSHING: RH --Deo'vonte Doe 19-163, Michale Horton 8-20, Gavin Bush 3-19, Marquis Griffin 5-5, Caylon Morrison-Ford 1-3, Shemar Taylor 1-3, Kaelin Devore 1-0, Derrell Myers 5-(-4), Amar Wilkins 1-(-6). HHH -- Khalil Lewis 10-93, Ty'Shan Green 9-34, Michael Julian 6-34, Aiden Hegarty 2-(-21).
RECEIVING: RH -- None; HHH -- Robbie Iulo 4-96, James Sanders 5-88, Jonny Dillon 2-69, Adam Orischak 1-68, Caleb Martin 1-23, Ty'Shan Green 1-9.